Windows 7 can not read hard drive

Hello,
I have a new HP desktop running Windows7. I have an external hard drive that i was using with Windows XP. The external hard drive is a Western Digital. My new computer recognizes the drive but can not read it. Is there a simple solution. Tech support from Western Digital tells me I have to format the drive. I dont want to lose my files.
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More about windows read hard drive
  1. Check that you don't have the drive conflicting with the same drive letter as the one that the OS is using, check this by going into "Computer Management" then "Disk Management" and in the table below check if there is the HP External Drive. If there is no HP external drive listed that we will continue troubleshooting.
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